Editor’s Note: While this news release is about camping in the United Kingdom, readers should note a lot of similarities to the RV park and campground business in the U.S. What works here seems to work elsewhere.
The launch and rapid growth of Pitchup.com, a campsite and holiday park search website, couldn’t be more indicative of the current holiday climate. Official statistics released this week show that UK camping and caravanning was up by 27% compared to 2008 (January to May).
Official statistics for June onwards have not yet been released, but the renaissance of UK camping and caravanning holidays was predicted early in the year with advance bookings up by 25% over 2008 (from the National Caravan Council). Looking forwards to 2010, 54% of Britons who took a YouGov poll plan to take their main holiday at home, compared to the 26% who said they would this summer.
Furthermore, the credit crunch in the UK and a collapse in holidaymakers’ overseas buying power resulted in a 19% decline in holiday trips abroad in June 2009.
This year’s growth in the UK camping and holiday park market stems from a variety of factors. As well as the credit crunch and holidaymakers seeking value for money, a yearning for the nostalgic, the growth of “glamping” (glamour + camping), and the mushrooming of UK festivals have all paved the way for the rise. In addition, the growing awareness of the necessity for sustainable travel means a “staycation” is one of the best ways to lower an individual’s carbon footprint.
Pitchup.com is the most comprehensive website in its sector, with 5,000 UK and Ireland campsites and holiday parks featured including hundreds of hard-to-find sites. The website has an easy-to-use search facility and contains information on accommodation near hundreds of beaches, nine national parks, 17 World Heritage Sites and the main UK festivals.
Pitchup.com allows visitors to make specific searches according to their needs. The site’s comprehensive listings make it possible, for example, to search for a campsite in soutwest England that is near a beach and a national park, allows dogs, offers disabled facilities and Wi-Fi, and has sailing nearby (in this case, Porlock Caravan Park in Somerset). Users can also search for any post code and see local sites. Alternatively, users can search for what they want to do first and the site will show the accommodation options nearby.
Users can also search for places to go such as beaches and walking routes, as well as UK events and festivals via a direct link to Ticketmaster and eFestivals.
“The massive growth of the market kicks the doors wide open for this website,” noted Dan Yates, managing director of Pitchup.com. “It helps visitors find exactly what they want if considering a UK — or Ireland-based camping or caravanning holiday — whether it’s a family holiday, activity holiday with friends or a trip to one of the UK’s music festivals. We want Pitchup.com to be as helpful as possible to our users: for example, we’ve added a ‘near festival’ search to the homepage and are incentivising campsite reviews with a tent competition. There’s no doubt that this type of holiday has a great deal of appeal to the British from students, to families, to the over-55s; and Pitchup.com will assist in finding the holiday they want, whatever their criteria.”
Over 700 sites listed on Pitchup.com are open year-round, and the site is preparing autumn and winter campaigns that highlight the UK’s natural charms, working in partnership with leading brands.
“The site promises to be the portal for the camping and caravanning world as we positively encourage feedback and collaboration by our users about a whole range of accommodation and things to do in the great British countryside,” Yates concluded.